Are You Engaging and Empowering Your Customers?

THE CHALLENGE: Consumers have shifted from being passive recipients of “push” marketing to selecting companies who seek their voice and reflect their input. Engaged customers offer exponentially greater value than passive buyers.
Seek Out and Act On Customer Input
At Adobe, customers have the opportunity to submit ideas and vote on ideas submitted by others in the “Labs Ideas” forum. Analysts at the company discovered that customers with the highest feedback scores also had the highest lifetime values. Differences in lifetime value among key business accounts were as high as 288 percent. And according to Sloan Management Review, 95 percent of customers at the community-driven on-line apparel retailer had previously voted and made comments on the site.
Songza App
Recently, the online music service Songza launched “Music Concierge” in response to learnings from in-depth Voice of Customer (VoC) research regarding what listeners expected from a high value music experience. Songza, backed by Amazon, among others, is one of the most innovative new players in the digital music space. (Full disclosure: Songza's CEO, Elias Roman, is my son)
Songza’s Voice of Customer (VoC) Research Learnings:
#1: Existing streaming services were too difficult for music fans.
While music aficionados were thrilled to discover services that offered infinite variety, most music fans were overwhelmed. According to Elias Roman, CEO of Songza, "We gained valuable insights regarding what people want from a music service ... They found other services too hard: the enormous selection they offered was lost on them, because they didn't have the time, knowledge or inclination to navigate it."
#2: Music fans wanted soundtracks for specific activities.
The major discovery of Songza's VoC research was that people associate music with activities in their lives and want music discovery to reflect that fact. "Some customers told us that they were much more productive with film scores on in the background. Others would mention specific playlists that helped them run their best mile ever." Songza responded by launching Music Concierge, which provides situationally-appropriate playlists, pre-filtered based on the time of day, day of the week, user device and observed preferences. They range from “Just Waking Up” on a Wednesday morning to “Hosting a Cocktail Party” on Saturday night.
The result? A recent headline said it nicely: "Spotify, we need a break. I'm falling for Songza."
Per Elias, “Music Concierge impacted our metrics in a big way. New users are spending an average of 45 minutes on the site. No other new feature has given us such a big boost to traffic or engagement, which has nearly doubled since we introduced concierge.”
Key Takeaways for Marketers:
»  Update Your Understanding of Customer Expectations More Frequently than Ever Before. The speed of change in what customers expect and consider to be competitive differentiators is unprecedented. Marketers that are too slow to respond are losing market share. If you haven't recalibrated your understanding of customer expectations within the last 12 months ... you are out of date.
»  Empower Customers by Making Changes Based on their Input. Songza’s VoC research revealed that customers wanted guidance, and Music Concierge provides it. Nothing makes customers feel more empowered than seeing you make changes as a result of their feedback.